Dark drama at Playhouse

THE driving rain outside Nottingham Playhouse made for a suitably atmospheric prelude to Helen Edmundson’s new gothic play Mary Shelley which opened last week.

Presented by Shared Experience, this is a dark tale which echoes the chilling themes behind Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein.

The daughter of the philosopher William Godwin and the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who died while giving birth to her, the teenage Mary is inspired by her mother’s radical writing and this play brilliantly charts the tragic life of the strong-minded Mary who falls in love with the dashing poet Percy Bysshe Shelley aged just 16 - and comes to terms with the difficult events of her life, including the death of her first-born child and suicide of her sister.

It was against this backdrop of birth and death that Mary penned Frankenstein when she was 19.

Members of Shared Experience are known for their gutsy acting and this production was no exception. Their performances were both passionate and poetic but the dialogue was also engagingly realist. Indeed, it would be unfair to single out any one of them as all cast members evoked their characters’ strengths and flaws to great effect.

Mary Shelley is on at Nottingham Playhouse until 5th May. For details call the Box Office on (0115) 941 9419 or visit nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk. Follow on Twitter with hashtag #maryshelley.